Top Tip #4- My ‘Adventure Phone’ solution for the UAE

This is my solution to the problems of mobile phones for those of us who play outdoor games. Keep your smart phone safe by using a cheap phone, a waterproof case that works and 2 sim cards on one number.

The outdoors is fierce on phones, especially the new breed of smart phones. There are so many aspects of the enviroment out to get them (water, sand, salt and sweat) and their insanely complex electronics.

I feel the need carry a mobile phone with me as they are ridiculously powerful communication tools in the event of an incident and sorting out logistics is much easier with one. But there is no point in carrying one that will not survive so that I can actually use it when I need to. The cost of a smart phone does not lend itself to them being considered disposable.

I still mourn the loss of my iPhone. It was inside a waterproof document case inside a dry bag on the back of a sit on top I was paddling while running an introductory kayak session. As part of the session we were playing some balance games which guaranteed a capsize sooner or later. Water got into the outer dry bag and with the document case sitting in a puddle of water inside it eventually let water in as well. The result was I found my iPhone floating like a goldfish in a bag of salt water. While I did manage to dry it out and get the screen and battery repaired it was never the same again. Gradually the salt corrosion did its work and the phone slowly ground to a halt and died.

This is what my iphone reminded me of when it was floating in a bag of water

So the problem is I need a smart phone for work and I need a phone for carrying with me when on the hill or on the sea. I dont like having 2 separate numbers as  maybe someone will need to contact me. I find it very difficult when folks have 2 numbers, I mean which one do I use? What’s the right number to have saved? These seemingly small issues can become huge when in the middle of solving a problem where folks health and well being are riding on it.

Well I’ve found a very acceptable solution that works fantastically well for me. Its comprised of the following components:

  1. Smartphone – in my case its a Blackberry Curve at the moment
  2. The cheapest Nokia phone I could find
  3. A small Seal Line waterproof E-Case for the cheap Nokia
  4. The Tawa’am dual sim card service from Etisalat
A smart phone and a cheap 'disposable' waterproof phone both on the same number

On a day to day basis I use the smartphone as most people do.

When I’m out and about in enviroments that are likely to put a mobile phone at risk I use the cheap Nokia in the waterproof bag and the bag is good enough that I can use the phone through the bag. This means I have a very cost effective waterproof mobile phone. This has proven to work really well. I’ve swum in the sea and across the feeder lake at Al Ain with the phone in the waterproof case in my buoyancy aid pocket. I’ve also carried in my cycle jersey back pocket on hot days and its kept out all the sweat. Now, while this waterproof case is proving to be the best I’ve ever used, sooner or later its going to let in water. Thats why I use the cheapest phone I can find, its not really a big deal if it gets trashed. The cheaper phones also have much simpler electronics which means they actually stand more chance of working in the event of being dipped in water.

The cases have also proved incredibly useful for other electronics too. I use one for my ipod after my classic got wet when it was in the top pocket of my rucsac in a shower while walking to catch a bus. I also use one for my GPS when using it on the deck of a sea kayak. I can operate the device easily through the case as well as read the information. Although the device is pretty waterproof the case prevents the damaging salt water creeping in even when its rough. A small karabiner keeps it all securely attached to the deck lines.

The beauty of the Tawa’am SIM cards is I get 2 cards that use the same number. I can activate either of the phones to receive calls and texts by simply dialing an activation code (*149*1#) and I have that saved in the contacts to make this really easy. This means no swapping of numbers or sim card faffing and I always have a back up phone if I lose one.

The Seal Line Waterproof E-Cases will be available from Adventure HQ once they open and hopefully at all other quality outdoor stores in the region shortly.

The Tawa’am Sim cards are available from any Etisalat office and can be set up on either pre or post paid numbers.

I love cost effective and simple solutions to outdoor adventure problems. I hope the information helps.


Hope you’ve found this new Top Tip in the series handy. More will get added over time so keep popping back to check for new posts and click on the Top Tips category in the side bar on the right. Alternatively sign up for email alerts of new posts or add the RSS feed to your Outlook or other feed reader. Information can again be found in the RH sidebar.

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